Awfully Good: Bad Boys II
If I wanted to feature an actual "bad" Michael Bay movie in anticipation of PAIN AND GAIN, I suppose I could've done PEARL HARBOR. But I never want to watch PEARL HARBOR again. I do want to watch BAD BOYS II everyday of my life.
Bad Boys II (2003)
BAD BOYS II is Michael Bay completely owning up and accepting his calling as a filmmaker. "Oh you guys don't care about love stories or the human condition or Ben Affleck? Fine, suck my explosion!" It's probably the Michael Bay-iest movie Michael Bay will ever make, a nonstop barrage of awesome (things blowing up), awesome (things getting shot up) and awesome (boobs). The closest thing this movie has to an emotional arc is the camera adoringly circling around its heroes as Martin Lawrence says, with all seriousness, "Shit just got real."
With some directors there's a method to the madness. For example, John Woo treats his action like a ballet. Christopher Nolan is all about the realism. Michael Bay, on the other hand, is just dryhumping your face until you have a seizure. Trust me; it's no accident that BAD BOYS II opens with a sea of Ecstasy pills. Because that's what this is: the filmmaker sharing with you from his personal stash. The editing, lighting, cinematography, music—it's all set to MAXIMUM OVERLOAD. There are never any simple shots or static setups. Bay's camera is always on the run looking for its next victim—going through walls, crashing in to cars, looking up girls' skirts. Why just film a shootout when you can spin around it at a merciless speed?
In addition to being bigger, better and faster than its predecessor, the sequel is also unapologetically reprehensible. It's an exercise in complete excess that's crass and at times offensive (Racism? Check! Misogyny? Check!), as if the film itself is alive with the power of pure testosterone. Sex is everywhere—Will Smith and Martin Lawrence constantly talk about their erections, porno magically pops up on the TV, and you even get to witness random rats engaging in kama sutra. (Seriously, it was someone's job to train stunt rodents to hump each other.) If that's not enough, the bad guys smuggle money and drugs inside of human corpses, so a good chunk of the second act involves our heroes desecrating the deceased. That can mean running over and decapitating dead bodies with their car or sneaking in to a mortuary whereupon they rifle through people's internal organs as if they were checking luggage. At one point, Lawrence even mounts a dead chick's fake breasts. It's bizarre territory for a summer tentpole flick, but no other film has as big an attitude of "I don't give a f*ck!" as this one.
Along those lines, BAD BOYS II features the Anti-Will Smith. If you're used to the clean-rapping, nice guy Smith you might not be ready for Mike Lowery, the foul-mouthed, violent cop who intimidates teenagers by asking if they've "ever made love to a man." And these are all qualities Bay wants to glorify, since he's constantly shooting Smith in slow motion from low angles to maximize his coolness. (He might be the only cop on the planet that wears Armani and drives a Ferrari.) On the other hand, Bay clearly hates Martin Lawrence's calm and collected family man. The film spends all its time emasculating him at every turn, be it making him get shot in the ass, apologizing to the bad guys, or needing to take Viagara. Though Gabriel Union is fine eye candy and Joey Pants is fun as the standard angry police captain, it's Jordi Molla who makes the biggest impression as the villain. I don't know what I like more: the fact that he's always screaming in his overzealous Cuban accent or the bizarre inclusion of his chubby daughter and elderly mother in the proceedings.
But more than anything, BAD BOYS II is awash in action spectacle and mayhem. (Excuse me… BAY-HEM.) It revels in complete and utter destruction on a massive scale, from gunfights in a crowded street to Mexican standoffs with the KKK to dizzying shootouts with blonde Rastafarians. And car chases…so many car chases. This was released the same summer as THE MATRIX RELOADED and the vehicular sequences here blow the Wachowski's much-hyped CGI nonsense out of the water. The highway chase, where the bad guys begin literally throwing cars from a transport truck at our hero's Ferrari, is one of the most ridiculous things I've ever witnessed. (Even better, they recreate this same sequence an hour later, except with Smith and Lawrence dodging falling dead bodies.) There's also a foot chase that turns in to a car chase that turns in to a subway chase; it's almost like that episode of Family Guy where Peter fights the chicken. Very little if any of it utilizes digital effects and Bay captures it all with some truly crazy, seemingly dangerous shots. All in all, there are billions of dollars in property damage and hundreds of innocent lives lost just for your entertainment.
Two hours in, you might think the movie is ending. The cops and the DEA storm the bad guy's house and Peter Stormare randomly shows up drunk and packing heat. Except… NO, GO TO HELL, AUDIENCE! IT'S TIME TO FREAKING INVADE CUBA! That's right; when the federal authorities won't save Lawrence's sister from the villain's extravagant Havana mansion, the Bad Boys assemble a small team and make a bold plan to personally take down the Communist country… all within 30-45 minutes. They utilize all the weapons at their disposal—cats, iguanas, exploding remote control cars and the occasional bazooka—before eventually it turns into Will Smith and Martin Lawrence vs. the entire Cuban army. Out of spite, they blow up the bad guy's brand new house in an explosion so big even Michael Bay can't fit the whole thing in frame. (The homeowner's reaction to this demolition is the best thing ever, by the way.) Our heroes then steal his Humvee and proceed to escape using the fastest route geographically possible—driving THROUGH a hillside town and completely decimating all the houses and probably killing lots of people. Luckily in Cuba, dwellings are made of paper so the cars aren't even scratched and they can continue this obscene chase all the way to Guantanamo Bay. This presents the location for the final guns-drawn showdown as the Boys try to reach American soil: an active minefield. Gabrielle Union must be a scientist or something, because her brilliant idea to diffuse the situation is "Hey, I'll throw my gun down… ON TOP OF THAT LANDMINE!" Somehow this leads to the bad guy getting shot in the head and his body exploding in the most graphic manner possible.
Old Zod liked kneeling. New Zod loves hugs.
And this is why BAD BOYS II is a classic. There's nothing about this movie that's not immediately amazing and absolutely explosive. (The name of Smith and Lawrence's department is even "TNT.") At nearly two and a half hours, I'll admit it could probably stand to lose 10-20 minutes. Just don't ask me what to cut, because I love every second of it.
A homoerotic misunderstanding that could totally be on an episode of Three's Company. BONUS: Rodent sex!
1) From car chases to shootouts to landmine plastic surgery, all the best parts of BAD BOYS II in under five minutes.
You're welcome, ladies.
Take a shot or drink every time:
- The camera goes through something
- There is a low angle shot of Will Smith
- Someone says, "Woosah"
- Someone says the phrase "Bad Boys" or sings the theme song
- Martin Lawrence's pool breaks
- There's blatant product placement
- Jackie Chan's POLICE STORY is "referenced"
|Extra Tidbit:||Michael Bay cast a 15 year old Megan Fox to dance inappropriately as an extra in one of the club scenes. CLICK HERE to watch her entire performance.|